Summary : Embark on an expedition to the Falkland Islands, known as the 'Islas Malvinas' in Spanish. This unique archipelago lies on the boundary of sub-Antarctic Oceanic and Tundra climate zones and is home to large bird populations, breathtaking mountain ranges, and quaint British towns. Your itinerary will aim at offering the best of the Falklands and may include: the rarely visited Steeple Jason Island, Saunders Island, the New Island North Nature Reserve, and Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. On Saunders Island, you might see the majestic black-browed albatross near their nesting sites along with breeding Imperial shags and rockhopper penguins. In Stanley you can experience Falkland culture, which has some South American characteristics as well as Victorian charm: colorful houses, well-tended gardens, and English-style pubs.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$5,900 to $8,650
Embark in the afternoon in Puerto Madryn and sail towards the Falkland Islands. Golfo Nuevo is world renowned for their visiting southern right whales and you will have a good chance of spotting one as you head toward the open ocean.
Though you’re now at sea, there’s rarely a lonesome moment here. Several bird species follow the vessel southeast such as albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters, and diving petrels.
The Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) offer an abundance of wildlife and fantastic birding opportunities. These islands are largely unknown gems. Not only do various species of bird live here, but chances are great that you’ll see both Peale’s dolphins and Commerson’s dolphins in the surrounding waters.
During this segment of the voyage, you may visit the following sites:
Steeple Jason – Home to the world’s largest black-browed albatross colony (roughly 113,000), Steeple Jason is a wild and rarely visited island buffeted by wind and waves. Weather and swell conditions dictate the journey here.
Carcass Island – Despite its name, this island is pleasantly rodent-free and hence bounteous with birdlife. Breeding Magellanic penguins, gentoo penguins, and numerous waders and passerine birds (including Cobb’s wrens and tussock-birds) live here.
Saunders Island – On Saunders Island you may see the black-browed albatross and its sometimes-clumsy landings, along with breeding imperial shags and rockhopper penguins. King penguins, Magellanic penguins, and gentoos are also found here.
West Point Island – This beautiful island also hosts a bounty of birdlife, from shore birds near the landing site to black-browed albatrosses on the nest. Among them is a rookery of rockhopper penguins who must undertake an incredible climb from the sea to get to their nests among the albatrosses.
Grave Cove – Nesting gentoo penguins and excellent hiking opportunities abound here.
Volunteer Point – A large white-sand beach, Volunteer Point is somewhat exposed but has a large king penguin rookery as well as other birdlife.
Port Stanley – The capital of the Falklands and the seat of its culture, Port Stanley has some Victorian-era charm: colorful houses, well-tended gardens, and English-style pubs are all to be found here. You can also see several century-old clipper ships nearby, silent witnesses to the hardships of 19th century sailors. The small but interesting museum is also worth a visit, covering the early days of settlement up to the Falklands War. Approximately 2,100 people live in Port Stanley. Feel free to wander at will, though be aware that admission fees to local attractions are not included in the voyage.
Sandy Bay – The nearby Big Pond offers excellent wildlife opportunities, featuring dark-faced ground-tyrants and Magellanic snipes. There’s also an easy walk to see gentoo penguins, Magellanic penguins, rockhoppers, and king cormorants.
Sea Lion Island – This is a very exposed location, so you may need some luck to stop here. If a landing is possible, it’s well worth the trip: The island is home to the largest breeding colony of southern elephant seals in the archipelago, with approximately 2,000 individuals on the northern beaches. A moderate walk will also take you to a southern sea lion haul-out.
Coffin’s Harbor – This area is a relatively short walk from the landing site at the New Island South Wildlife Reserve, providing views of nesting black-browed albatrosses and rockhopper penguins. A more strenuous hike to Landsend Bluff may also show you some South American fur seals. The site of the only land-based whaling station on the Falkland Islands is south of this landing beach.
New Island North – Landing at this nature reserve requires a special permit. If received, you can make a farewell visit to the black-browed albatrosses (among other birds) and South American fur seals that call the Falklands home.
As you sail westward, seabirds trail you all the way to South America.
Arrive and disembark in Ushuaia, commonly held to be the world’s most southern city. It is located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, nicknamed the “End of the World.” But despite this stopping point, the wealth of memories you’ve made on your Antarctic expedition will travel with you wherever your next adventure lies.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase insurance including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Pre-scheduled group transfer from the ship to the airport in Ushuaia directly following disembarkation; shipboard accommodations; all shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; gear on loan (rubber boots and snowshoes); all meals onboard the ship; snacks, coffee, and tea; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Airfare; pre- and post-land arrangements; transfer to the vessel in Puerto Madryn; passport and visa expenses; admission fees to local Stanley attractions; government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; travel insurance; excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage, and telecommunication charges; customary gratuity at the end of the voyage for stewards and other service personnel aboard; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Jan Byrde, © Werner Thiele, © Rinie van Meurs, © Erwin Vermeulen